Lennon

lennon

At this point my blog has become a holder of memorials. I brought home so many furry friends month after month of each other. I suppose I should have been more prepared for this to also come to an end back to back. I’m at the point where I’m kind of in a numbness. Which also affects my ability to express myself well. But I know these memorials finalize things for me. Help. And so, I must put down a few words to honor Lennon.

Lennon, I named you after one of my favorite musicians. John Lennon. Anyone who knows me knows this was a high honor to be named. And I adored you as much as your brother. You two were so special to me. I felt that I rescued you both from that store room in a tiny plastic container of the pet store. And I think it made you both much more special to me than I would have expected You and Mercury were a new experience for me. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of Gerbils. Though I researched a great deal before bringing you both home I also knew you were unlike hamsters. It was fascinating getting to know you two. Slowly but surely earning your trust. Our mutual respect of one another. I did not handle you all too much as you did not appreciate it. But you would come take treats out of my hand and hop back in the cage. We had an understanding. And I earned a few “gerbil smiles” in your lifetimes. I will never forget them.

You were the nurturing one. You doted on your brother. And that is why without him I do not think you could carry on. You became depressed and listless with no one to care for. No one to fuss over. Though seemingly healthy. I think your heart was dying every day since Mercury’s passing.  For you were always washing Mercury and always cuddling on him. When Mercury was sick you groomed him and fussed over him and then you buried him with such respect and reverence. I am so sad that you did not have a brother to do that for you. Instead you had to bury yourself.

Did you have whatever illness that Mercury had? Did you die of grief? I will never know. But you are in peace now. Now you are buried beside your brother by the peach tree in the back yard. Rest in Peace.

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Mercury.

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Mercury. I just did not expect to lose you so young. I do not know what happened. I cannot even fathom the last 48 hours. I am so heartbroken. I don’t know if I can ever get more rodents after this. You leave behind Lennon who is absolutely lost without you. I cannot even write a proper memorial because I am just absolutely in shock.

I named you after one of my favorite musicians. Freddie Mercury from Queen. A man I’ve never met but who was obviously a warm, loving, gentle, and talented soul. And who died too young as well. And with so much left to do left undone. A talented treasure just taken from us all. You were a proper namesake.

My 4 year old is so confused by death of late. He asked if you would come back. He said he didn’t want you to go. He said that you cannot go away because you and Lennon are happy together. That you cannot leave Lennon alone. That you are Lennon’s brother and brothers stick together. Like he and his brother. Then he asked if his brother would get sick like Mercury and he like Lennon would be left behind. And it absolutely broke my heart. How your death impacts us. How it touches the heart of a small child. How it hurts this heart of mine.

In the last days Lennon mothered you. He groomed you. He slept on top of you. He held you in his gerbil way. Watching this unfold was the most anguishing thing I’ve ever seen with animals. So human this devotion of one to another. And then Lennon buried you. You were still breathing but just barely. But he knew. He had finally said his goodbye. I dug you out and held you. Held you to my chest. Held you for hours. Using the dropper to hydrate you with water. Then made a warm cloth nest for you in a smaller container to keep near me. For two days you held on like this. In this state of limbo. Like a coma truth be told. Like you were only sleeping. Deeply sleeping. Picking you up and giving you water. Hoping you’d rouse. That you were only just in the worst of the illness and would improve at any time.

Denial perhaps. I don’t know. But now you are resting in finality by the peach tree in the back yard.

“Who wants to live forever?

Who dares to love forever?

When love must die.

….

Who wants to live forever,
Who wants to live forever,
Forever is our today,
Who waits forever anyway?”

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Snow is at Peace

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 I found Snow curled up by his Flying Saucer. Seemingly peaceful. I hope so at least.

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Back in July 2012 I kept hearing about these “robos” on the hamster forums and elsewhere on the net during my searches to better educate myself on dwarf hamsters. I had Strawberry, my hybrid campbells dwarf but I began looking into Roborovskis and just knew I had to get a pair.

I went into Petsmart hoping to get lucky. They rarely had Robo’s there but that day I went in they had one in the front and two in the back. The two in the back had just come in and were so tiny I just could not believe my eyes. Two white boys and the only distinguishing mark between the two of them was Patch’s greyish brown patch on top of his head. I named the other Snow because he looked like a snow ball.

For the month they lived together in a 20 gallon tank they were hilarious. I loved watching their antics. They were so fast and so funny to me and so adorable. I didn’t bother forcing training on them. They truly preferred to be left alone. In my research I knew to expect them to be the species you watch but don’t touch. However, I didn’t research enough apparently. I did everything wrong. I had levels and I did not have two of everything. Eventually, Patch nearly killed Snow. I had to separate them.

Snow, my laid back Robo just crawled into my heart. Not that I didn’t love Patch for his personality but Snow continued to become more tame while Patch never has. And that i okay but there is a sense of closeness you develop when you can hold them. Snow, at he got older and older became more and more tame. To the point where I could hold him and he’d not try to run at all.

He gave me a scare when he somehow escaped his bookcase cage. But the bucket tick worked beautifully and swiftly and I got him caught in mere minutes!

He was a beautiful, beautiful, adorable, sweet, and gentle little hamster. His chip his brother put in his ear forever gave him that veteran look.

The last few months he and Patch had slowed down so much. Happy and still eating and drinking and exercising and always expecting a treat! A yogie or a piece of fruit or their favorites spinach. Snow, particularly had a thing for baked chicken. Whenever I baked a chicken I was sure to give him a tiny bite. As pictured in the collage (where he is in the yellow tube) he is munching euphorically on a bite of chicken. Of all my hams he was the most carnivorous.

Rest in peace little snow boo. You lived to be months over 2 years. A good life. Thank you for being in mine.

Strawberry Fields Forever in our memory

Strawberry, you were my first hamster as an adult. And you were my eldest son’s first pet of “his own”. He and my husband loved you from the start. You remained both of their favorites despite how many more hamsters we adopted after you.

You were a nipper in your cage because you were assertive about what is yours and what isn’t mine! But once you were out of your cage you were an absolute sweetheart. You were never a very active hamster. It took half a year before I ever caught you running on the wheel.

Of all the hamsters you were the most excited about change. You liked for a change up of your toys to keep a spice in life. And you are the ONLY hamster I’ve had in all my life – adult and childhood – that loved the hamster ball. I think you could have rolled and rolled for hours if I had let you. 

When we first brought you home I got you one of those overpriced, tiny Critter Trail cages because I didn’t know better. The last time I had had a hamster was the Syrian’s in childhood who I kept in old glass aquariums. I had no concept of cage sizing and what was appropriate. I joined a hamster community because I had an inkling I was absolutely “out of date” and lo and behold I gathered a wealth of information. From cage to tank to bigger cage to bin cage. The first bin cage I’ve ever made was and remained your favorite cage of them all.

You loved climbing the meshed window to get a treat from me. And your favorite treat of all time was meal worms. Especially, live. I know I should have crushed the heads of them as they might bite but you LOVED to forage for them as they wiggled. You were a predator more than prey animal! You seemed to naturally know what to do – biting their heads first before pouching them. Smart cookie!

I found you this morning I was cleaning the room for company to come over and I had this feeling. Normally I don’t check on you hamsters before evening. But with all of my rodents I have had a “sixth sense” about you all which has been very fortunate many a time. This time my inkling being correct was a very sad revelation indeed. There you were curled up and adorable in little terra cotta pot that was on it’s side. You looked so peaceful. Like you were only sleeping. So cute too. No hint of any suffering. Just as though it was your time. I always assumed you were older when I adopted you. That you had been in the shop a long time as they were anxious for me to adopt you particularly. You were always on the lazier “middle-aged” side. We’ve had you almost 2 years. You lived a very good, long life for a hamster. We were so fortunate for the time we had and that you had a peaceful passing. No one could ever ask for better than that.

Play well with our fellow dwarf friends’ Roxy, Smudge, and GiGi, and most of all with our very own beloved Penny at Rainbow Bridge.

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The Day After.

Today was a less dark day. When I say dark – death hovers over me like a ghost. I don’t believe in actual ghosts as an independent spiritual entity that follows one about but more like a mood that feels outside of yourself. Hovering behind your shoulder. Some mood you try to throw away from inside but it just follows you everywhere you go. Yeah, that feeling …was gone today. I only thought of Penny in memory of her antics and not how I last found her. That was a start.

I cleaned items yesterday and a few more today. Her damask print food bowl and her custom quilted hammocks today were hard because I looked at them and think – how could I put these in a future Syrian’s cage one day? They are Penny’s!

As much time passes I think I won’t feel so possessive on behalf of Penny. In fact I’m sure Penny could care less! Alive or gone. But still I have these thoughts!

Yesterday, was one of those days when I wasn’t sure if I would really say anything about her passing. But then I just did it. I was in a blur of mania yesterday. Pretty much I was trying to remain busy in the mind. Writing up and posting pictures and the status update on my Facebook and such – the responses here and there on FB were very, very helpful. Very comforting. Just knowing that people cared about me and also others that ALSO cared about Penny despite not having met her in person – was such a good warm fuzzy.

As of today all my other hams are healthy and happy. Acting like their normal selves. Bob is a WEE bit more withdrawn than usual but I think it’s because he no longer smells a female hamster nearby. He wasn’t nearly as active until I brought home Penny. Much of his energy I think was the maleness in him figuring out how to find his lady love. He must wonder why the scent is no longer there so abruptly. 😦

I have to fight off the temptation of bringing home a new Syrian. This is because at this time I am over capacity to begin with. With all these pets I realize I’ve over extended myself a bit. That I have plenty of hams left. So, there isn’t really a need to stretch my affections and time even more taut. And I would like to find a breeder. A legit one. I would like to try to veer away from Pet shop pets. I cannot help but believe her ill health is directly resulted from bad and inhumane breeding. This isn’t a promise. I might never find a breeder in my area that is educated on genetics and has pure blood lines they are working with. But it is something that being such I have more time on my hands ..that I have time to wait …I can begin looking out for that.

Also, I want a rabbit. And not building up my hamster population again would be smart because I want a lot of time to devote to a rabbit!

So, yes, a rush to fill the hole that Penny  left is something I fight. For all the logical reasons. And really, another hamster just to love is wonderful. But a hamster so quickly ONLY to replace her? That is a road to disappointment and regret. I could never replace her. She was too different and unique. Leaving big paw prints to fill.

My blog will be taking a new direction for awhile I think. I have come here since yesterday with change on the mind. I made a few more tactful changes to what I have to say about some things on my pages. And saw this cute layout for Christmas. I immediately had to be festive and cheerful with the layout. But yes …some new direction would be prudent because her death has changed a bit of my view as a hammy mom. No longer the completely rose-tinted-glasses of a “new” hamster owner. I feel like I’ve gone through a rite of passage. Not the kid one – losing a hamster as a child and losing on as an adult for me are two different events. The change will be subtle.

For one I have been slowly but surely researching and planning ahead for a rabbit. I’m still in the “awwwww bunnies” mindset and not as serious as one needs to be to really be about to undertake rabbit-parenthood. I have awhile yet on that. I do not want to have a rabbit while we live in this small space and without a decent yard area to make an outdoor play pen (my bunny would be living inside of course but outdoor play area I feel is a MUST!) and such. But it would be nice to begin putting some focus on that a little here and there on this blog.

One day it will be “Hammy Happenings & Gerbilations …and it’s all just Rabbitacular!” …Hmm…too corny yes? I’ll have to think about that one too for awhile.

Penny at Rainbow Bridge

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Penny at Rainbow Bridge Penny Lane is watching down from Rainbow Bridge. This was a picture I made to explain to my 4 year old what has happened to her. I keep looking at it. It’s my MOST favorite picture of Penny. It encompasses her completely. Her personality and beauty. She was always so robust and so full of personality. I will be thinking about her a lot for a long time. I am on and off feeling normal and distracting myself and being upbeat and then feeling dark and disturbed at other moments. There is a closure and yet a feeling of being haunted right now that makes it hard to be completely at peace.

The Christmas Ham, Penny Lane

I wanted a girl hamster. My local stores only carried males. I only had males. And my only two children are males. I only have one female pet, my elderly dog Chloe. I wanted to tip the scales in this home! When I was visiting my parents for the holidays I knew I would be heading to their Petsmart before we left to return to Maryland. I knew I’d bring with us a girl Syrian hamster.

So, on Christmas Day, it rained. It was absolutely dreary. Later in the evening there would be a gale. My husband and myself took the kids and we headed to Petsmart before the storm and because we knew it was open and we planned to leave early the very next day to return home. This was my Christmas gift to myself. I was SO excited I could hardly contain myself.

We arrived and the sale in the store had wiped the place out. It was unexpectedly busy. I made a straight line to the back where the hamsters were housed. I peered in an igloo for the Syrian hamster cage and I saw a lot of white. I was excited! I hadn’t gone in there with any colors in mind. Only that since I had a long hair I’d like to have a short hair. The container stated it was Short hair (But they were certainly incorrect! She was long haired!). An employee was right there and asked if I wanted to see them. I felt my voice catch!

He lifted the igloo and I saw 3 hamsters. ALL that was left for Syrians. They were all sleeping in a huddle on their backs. That was why I saw all white. When they stirred to life Penny was the first I saw. She was alert and ready to go. She was gorgeous – a sable banded, eye rings and all. She was the most vibrant and vivacious of them all. I didn’t hesitate. I don’t even think I noticed the other two sadly as that sounds. “That one,” I said.

As soon as she was in her temporary travel bin at my parents home she was full of life. A wheel of her OWN! (I had brought a spare wheel with us on the trip down as I had planned for her). And she backed right into her sand box and wee wee’d like she had been litter trained all her life. She was active and rambunctious and just so easy to fall in love with.

I never thought of hamsters as intelligent but she was. She was incredibly bright. It’s difficult to explain how I know this. But I did. Intelligence shined in her eyes.

And feline-like she would prance about and rubbed against things and us. I’m starting to lose steam here as I just get emotionally exhausted.

The most touching aspect of this ham’s spirit was the maternal spirit. Immediately she was drawn to and trusting of and affection to my children. She did not shy away from curious hands. Even my infant. She claimed them as her own. She crawled on them and rubbed against them and gave them kisses. She wiggled when I held her but she was still and patient when my 3-year-old at the time – would hold her.

She chirped happily to greet me. She was very vocal though until the end I never heard vocal for negatives. Until the very end she didn’t want to be touched and screeched quite a bit when I touched her. So, I gave her my gentle voice instead and touched her much less.

She was the bravest hamster I’ve ever had so far. The most spirited. The most rambunctious and outgoing. She was an acrobat and gymnast. She was robust and intelligent and a big eater. She could be destructive but never in any way that was unsafe or a real issue or that ever made me cross. And it wasn’t always. But she had the ability. Her strength and stamina could be revered.

As I am not sure how old hamsters are when they are for sell at Petsmart I could only guess. I guessed at the higher end and surmised she would have turned about a year old around now. That she would have been born sometime in November to be able to be sold by Christmas.

Of all the hamsters I looked most forward to decorating her cage for Christmas as she was my true Christmas ham. All the festive bedding I recently purchased was with her mostly in mind. She was the hamster I bought the cardboard climber Christmas tree for.

I just buried her in the flower bed right outside my  kitchen window. I can think of her every time I set my coffee pot. Or wash my dishes. It was a sunny spot so warm in the cold 20 degree weather we are having today. I placed her inside her magenta floral patterned tissue box. I placed lovely shimmering stones on top of her grave. It was a solitary gesture. I could have made this a life lesson for my now 4-year-old. But instead I decided to just have that moment for me and her.

You broke the mold Penny Lane. There will never be a hamster exactly like you. I never felt like you were MY hamster but instead that WE were YOUR people. Thank you for having us darling.

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